Forced Anal Exams Humiliate, Violate Victims

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Neela Ghoshal
Senior Researcher, Human Rights Watch

We’ve been investigating the use of forced anal examinations on men, and transgender women who are suspected of homosexuality. We found that in at least 8 countries around the world, police colluding with doctors subject people who are suspected of homosexuality to these horribly humiliating exams.

Underwent forced anal exam

A policeman pulled down my trousers and put me on top of the desk, while another one was holding me by the arms. The doctor first inserted his finger and later put a device inside me. It was like a straw. He inserted it for a minute and a half or two minutes.

Ghida Frangieh
Lawyer and activist against anal exams

The doctors are looking to see what is the shape of the person’s anus, or the person’s rectum. They believe that there is scientific evidence that if someone is engaged in anal sex, the evidence will show based on visual observation.

Underwent forced anal exam

The police said they would put me in jail after proving that I’m homosexual. Then I was taken to the doctor’s room. A policeman followed me into the room.

Underwent forced anal exam

I had to bend, bend straight and they putting in fingers like this and moving it down, that’s how it was you know. I was really afraid of being beaten by them and I felt they could slap me again and, I had no choice to deny it and, I just had to admit it and do it the way they wanted it to be done yeah.

Lawrence Mute
African Commission for Human and People’s Rights

For police officers to ask that test be done forcibly on individuals, just you know in order to prove that they may have participated in a homosexual act. I think that it’s not acceptable. And in fact, that sort of evidence, even where it’s collected, is completely unreliable.

Dr Sami Kawas
Forensic doctor

Anal exams can not tell you if you’re homosexual or not, whether you’re passive or you’re active, this is just the biggest lie ever created in the history of medicine. You can’t prove a person is gay through any of those exams at all.

Nicholas Opiyo
Human Rights Lawyer

Executive Director of Chapter Four Uganda

As a a lawyer I just think that the use of forced or non consensual anal exams is torture, it is degrading, it is inhuman. More especially given the fact that the methods used for carrying out these exams are unscientific and it appears calculated simply to abuse the dignity of the people who are being interviewed.

Neela Ghoshal
Senior Researcher, Human Rights Watch

These countries should look to the fact that, given that prohibiting same sex conduct is a violation of international law, they should take every step possible to ensure the people who are arrested under these kinds of laws are not subjected to additional forms of cruel inhumane and degrading treatment that further violate their rights.

Underwent forced anal exam

They [anal exams] should not exist because the way they examined me, as I told you, made me feel I was an animal.


Countries around the world should ban the practice of conducting forced anal examinations on men and transgender women accused of consensual same-sex conduct. These examinations, which have been reported in at least eight countries in the last five years, lack evidentiary value and are a form of cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment that may in some cases amount to torture. The examinations, which have the purported objective of finding “proof” of homosexual conduct, often involve doctors or other medical personnel forcibly inserting their fingers, and sometimes other objects, into the anus of the accused. Victims of forced anal testing told Human Rights Watch that they found the exams painful and degrading; some experienced them as a form of sexual violence.

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